Luca Nichetto brings a touch of ingenious retro to interior design with Flirt and Teo
Flirt, an intriguing collection in leather by Luca Nichetto
Two pairs of eyes gaze intensely at each other. Two pairs of hands lie across a table tantalisingly close, but never so much as brush fingertips. If you’ve ever thought that chess is the ultimate game of seduction, you are not alone. Designer Luca Nichetto explores that very theme in Flirt, his exquisite set of chairs and table.
With its slender form and playful, almost coquettish air, the circular table is destined to become a favourite piece, and for chess lovers, a must-have item of furniture. With just a few simple movements, the smooth dark brown leather top turns over and an embossed chessboard is revealed. Then it is just a matter of reaching down into the walnut casket ensconced between the elegant Graphite Grey legs and removing the stone and metal playing pieces and, for those master strategists, the pencil and notepad nestled in a separate compartment.
It is widely believed that the earliest forms of the game were established in India during the 6th century, evolving into the version we know today in the 15th century in Europe. As any player knows, once that first move is made, you enter a fascinating world of two opponents, 32 pieces, 64 squares and an infinite number of possibilities.
Once all the pieces are in place and you are ready to make your opening gambit, it is time for both players to make themselves comfortable on the high-backed leather seats. With their curved form and retro-style design, they are perfectly in keeping with ancient traditions of chess.
An element, however, that is perhaps not conducive to a winning approach, is the comfort of the chairs and the way the curved leather moulds itself round your body. This makes them perfect for a convivial (or romantic) interlude, as you sit, relax and enjoy the sparkling conversation or simply gaze into each other’s eyes.
The perfect couple also knows that you don’t have to do everything together, and so the table and chairs can be purchased separately and combined with pieces from other collections. After all, for a flirt, variety is the spice of life!
As always, mood lighting sets the scene and this is where Teo, an ingenious table lamp also designed by Luca Nichetto, comes into play. Inspired by the works of the late great architect I.M. Pei, it comprises a circular base in Pietra d’Avola or Crema d’Orcia limestone into which a sheet of rice paper is inserted as an inverted funnel to form the shade and emit a beautiful soft glow. The lamp is charged with a USB cable and the intensity of the light it emits can be adjusted to create the perfect atmosphere.
With everything in place, the moment has arrived to look your opponent in the eye, cast your glance over the board before you, tune out every extraneous thought from your mind and enter the world of strategy, plotting and intrigue of a centuries-old pastime in a contemporary context.
We spoke to the creative brain behind these fascinating new products, Luca Nichetto, to find out a little more about them.
What’s the story behind the name Flirt?
The name alludes to both the game of chess – an amorous two-handed battle with king and queen supporting one another, losing and gaining territory with every move – and to the tea or cocktail rituals that can be enjoyed at the table by two people sharing a convivial moment.
What is the inspiration behind the project?
It came about in a way I particularly enjoy. We came here for a meeting with Gabriele Salvatori and as we were talking and getting to know each other, we came up with a brief right in the moment that was connected to just what Gabriele happened to be looking for. Maybe it was all down to intuition, but it was definitely very spontaneous. Above all, we wanted to create a series of objects that did not yet exist within Salvatori’s product range, including the choice of material. So, not just stone, but using a sort of mix of materials, and in the end, that is the common thread running through both products.
And why leather?
Because in a certain sense, leather is perceived at the same level as stone. There’s an incredible quality in the craft, the way you work with leather, which is, at the end of the day a natural material, and in this sense, it can be considered similar to the stone Salvatori uses for so many of its products. And that’s the reason we chose that direction without even looking at other types of material.
What are you proudest of with this collection?
Let’s day that in terms of satisfaction, to see a project come to life that started out as a mere conversation but ended up generating a series of objects and components that, when they’re placed together, create a micro-environment, that’s pretty satisfying. And when I saw them in the showroom among all the other Salvatori collections, it drove home to me that they are a part of that common language. And that makes me extremely proud.